LeRoy Collins Commentary 139

Commentary #139
22 February 2008

Admiration for what you do

Douglas, thank you for your note.....

I am highly impressed with the comprehensive coverage of Bay Care in the four counties surrounding Tampa Bay, the tour of your facilities in Pasco County for Leigh and me last Wednesday, the caring competence of your people, and....the high number of Veterans you are rehabilitating on a regular basis. These are people who otherwise will be banished to the trash heaps of society due to behavioral anomalies; you are working to bring them back to productive lives....a tall order.

In the year since I took this job, I have become impressed with what our Department does for Veterans in the "sunset" of their lives, but concerned with our lack of coverage and funding to serve a younger spectrum of Veterans who have very different needs in their lives ahead....especially those with the latent discovery of combat-induced PTSD and TBI.

Our Department has no funding, facilities, nor personnel to go there at the present time, but we have a major bill coming before the Legislature next month designed to help us move in that direction. But once the bill passes, we will still have an uncertain interim until we can raise the funds necessary to get traction with this new major objective for the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs (FDVA), .....which I am entrusted to lead.

So,...I plan to stay in touch with you, rather than attempt to re-invent the wheel. We need to be smart enough to fugure out how we can enhance our joint efforts. That is likely to involve FDVA liaison with the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs as well as the State of Florida. While those are bureaucracies, together they can bring to the fore some substantial funding which reflects the desires of Americans to ensure their Veterans get the care they have earned through service to the Nation.

Stay in touch.....

/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.
Executive Director,
Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs


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